HEADQUARTERS DEPARTMENT OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Chattanooga, December 22, 1863-10.10 a.m.
Major General H. W. SLOCUM,
Geary's whole division will be sent you to be posted at Bridgeport and Stevenson. Please send list of stations, and what troops to put at them, that they may be designated in orders.
WM. D. WHIPPLE,
HDQRS. FIRST DIVISION, FIFTEENTH ARMY CORPS,
Stevenson, Ala., December 22, 1863.
Lieutenant Colonel J. H. HAMMOND,
Assistant Adjutant-General, Fifteenth Army Corps:
COLONEL: I have just returned from a reconnaissance of the different roads leading toward Huntsville. Raccoon Creek, where the main road strikes it, is 400 feet wide and 15 feet deep, caused by back water from the Tennessee River; it would take four days to bridge it. The northern road appears to me more practicable. There is a bridge across the main fork of Raccoon Creek; the road in the bottom is, however, very bad, but I am having it corduroyed and the bridges repaired. This will take all day to-day, and your instructions being not to hurry, I propose remaining here and putting the roads and bridges in as good condition as possible in order that troops following may have the benefit of my delay here. The road from Bridgeport to Stevenson is horrible.
Trusting my action will be approved by the major-general commanding the army corps, I am, very respectfully, your obedient servant,
P. JOS. OSTERHAUS,
Brigadier-General of Volunteers.
HDQRS. CHIEF OF CAVALRY, DEPT. OF THE CUMBERLAND,
Strawberry Plains, December 22, 1863.
GENERAL: The river at McKinney's Ford is reported 2 feet higher than when the brigade crossed on the 19th. Five prisoners have been brought in from the other side, representing Martin's, Armstrong's, and Morgan's divisions, and of Morgan's Dibrell's, and Russell's brigades. They say they have two corps of cavalry that Longstreet has 40,000 menn in all; that he has been re-enforced by one division from Virginia; they gave Rutledge and Smith's Mills as the stations of their cavalry. About 20 of an Alabama regiment crossed on flats at Smith's Mills; say they have 10,000 cavalry in all, but very much scattered.
Very respectfully, your obedient servant,
W. L. ELLIOTT,